Thinking about end-of-life planning can be difficult, but it is something that should be considered. It’s incredibly important for you to ensure that your affairs will be handled properly in the event that you are rendered incapable of making important legal decisions for yourself.
This is why we recommend that you begin setting up a will, power of attorney and representation agreement even if you are in early adulthood, and don’t yet have dependents. These legal contracts will give you and your loved ones peace of mind because they make your final wishes crystal clear.
What is Power of Attorney?
Power of attorney is a legally binding document that names a person of your choosing as your “agent.” This person is given the power to step in and make decisions for you under certain circumstances.
The power of attorney contract is flexible, and you have the final say over what decisions your agent can and cannot make. Your estate planning lawyer will be able to help you decide which responsibilities to assign to your agent and in which situations he or she will step in.
It’s important to note that this agreement only applies to financial and legal decisions. If you want to give someone agency to make personal and health-related decisions for you, then you will need a representation agreement.
What is a Representation Agreement?
This is similar to a power of attorney, but it allows you to name one or more persons as your advocates related to personal and healthcare matters. This person can assist you in making decisions if you are still able and will have the final say in decisions if you’re incapacitated.
Representation agreements can also be expanded to include legal and financial matters, so we recommend speaking with an estate planning lawyer to see if you should opt for this in lieu of power of attorney.
The Importance of a Will
Just as you should have a representation agreement in place, you should also have an up-to-date will. A will allows you to name a person to manage your estate, and it helps your loved ones know exactly what your wishes are with no room for misunderstanding.
If you do not have a will, it places a huge burden on your loved ones and agents because they must guess at your wishes as best they can during an already stressful time.
Don’t Put Off Estate Planning
Establishing the right legal documents now will save you and your loved ones from being forced to make difficult choices later on. Our experienced legal professionals at Dick Byl Law are here to support you.